Looking to add beautiful texture and intricate details to your lace knitting projects but worried that lace and cables are too difficult? With the right tips and techniques, knitting lacy, cable-accented pieces is completely achievable, even for beginners. In this in-depth guide, we’ll demystify the fundamentals of lace and cable knitting,
Getting Started with Lace Knitting
Lace knitting involves making delicate openwork fabric using strategically placed yarnovers and decreases to form decorative holes arranged in intricate patterns. Common lace knitting patterns include:
- Leaves and flowers: Lace stitches shaped like oak leaves, fern fronds, petals, or blossoms.
- Circles and semicircles: Rounded lace patterns resembling wheels, crescents, and scallop shells.
- Diamonds or hearts: Symmetrical stitches with a central point.
- Geometric shapes: Squares, triangles, zigzags, chevrons.
The benefits of incorporating lace knitting include:
- Light and airy fabric: The openwork look has a beautiful drape and movement.
- Versatile for accessories: Lace pairs well with shawls, scarves, wraps, and lace edgings.
- Adds visual interest: The delicate open holes provide texture and intricate details.
To start lace knitting, you’ll need:
- Yarn: Lightweight yarns like fingering or laceweight accentuate the openwork. Avoid bulky yarns.
- Needles: Match smaller needle size to yarn – try size 4-6 / 3.5-4 mm needles.
- Stitch markers: Use markers to track pattern repeats.
- Blocking tools: Block finished pieces to open up lace fabric.
The basic techniques for lace knitting include:
- Yarnovers (yo): Wrap the yarn over the needle to create a new stitch. Forms the lace holes.
- Decreases (k2tog, ssk): Combining two stitches to counter all the added yarnover stitches. Maintains the stitch count.
- Knit/purl stitches: Lace patterns use knit and purl stitches for texture.
- Nupps: Tiny bobbles made by working multiple stitches into a single stitch. Adds texture.
- Twisted stitches (TPT): Knit or purl through the back loop to twist the stitch. Used in cable patterns.
Before tackling complex lace projects, build your skills with simple scarves or accessories. Let’s look at easy beginner lace patterns.
Easy Beginner Lace Patterns
Starting with simple lace accessories helps you master the basics without getting overwhelmed. Here are go-to projects for lace knitting beginners:
Simple Lace Scarves
Lace scarves let you practice basic lace stitches while creating a beautiful finished piece. Try:
- Feather and Fan Lace Scarf – Uses k2tog, yarnover, and knit stitches.
- Basketweave Lace Scarf – Simple staggered diamonds
- Honeycomb Lace Scarf – Eyelet squares for a beehive effect
Laceweight yarn is ideal for ethereal, openwork shawls. Approachable beginner patterns include:
- Lace Leaf Shawl – Single leaf panels
- Dragonfly Lace Shawl – Crescent shapes resembling dragonfly wings
- Springtime Crochet Shawl – Simple rows of eyelets
Cowls are another great small project to build confidence with lace techniques. Relaxed cowls include:
- Lattice Lace Cowl – Crisscrossing rectangles
- Autumn Lace Cowl – Easy repeat of yarnover diamonds
- Ruffled Lace Cowl – Uses a flared silhouette
When choosing your first lace pattern, look for these easy lace stitches suitable for beginners:
- Single diamonds/hearts: A simple centered increase.
- Eyelet rows: Rounds of yarnovers with k2tog/ssk.
- Lacy leaves or flowers: Approachable asymmetry.
- Mock cables: Use yarnovers to mimic cable crosses without a cable needle.
- Chevrons: Zigzagging vertical repeats.
For your first lace projects, look for patterns using just one or two repeated stitch patterns. This helps you master each technique before combining several.
Check pattern notes for tricky maneuvers like “double yarnover” or “wrap 3 times” to be prepared. Don’t be afraid to knit a swatch to pre-test complicated stitches.
Tips for Avoiding Common Beginner Lace Knitting Mistakes
- Use stitch markers religiously for pattern repeats.
- Follow chart symbols exactly – don’t improvise.
- Check your stitch counts frequently.
- Take your time, and don’t race through patterns.
- Lifelines can save you from having to rip back rows.
- Block thoroughly to open up the lace fabric.
Still, finding lace intimidating? Start with just a lace edging like these for a low-stakes introduction:
Now that you have a solid grasp on lace fundamentals let’s explore knitting cables next!
Also Read: MAKING NATURAL BEESWAX CANDLES AT HOME
While they may look complex, cables are created simply by crossing stitches out of their normal order. This gives the fabric a three-dimensional texture as the stitches pass over and recede to the back of the fabric.
Here’s what you’ll need to start cabling:
- Cable needle – A short double-pointed needle to hold the stitches temporarily out of order.
- Stitch markers – Mark cross boundaries and pattern repeats.
- Appropriate yarn and needles – Avoid super bulky or textured yarns.
The two basic maneuvers for creating cables are:
Right cross (RC): Hold the first stitches to the cable needle and hold it to the back of the work. Knit the next set of stitches from the left needle, then knit stitches from the cable needle. This crosses the first set of stitches to the right over the second set.
Left cross (LC): Hold the first set of stitches to the cable needle and hold it to the front of the work. Knit the next set of stitches from the left needle, then knit stitches from the cable needle. This crosses the first set of stitches to the left over the second set.
Other key techniques for cabling include:
- Traveling stitches: Knit stitches that cross over multiple cable crosses to create extended cables.
- Mock cables: Mimic cables use twisted stitches instead of a cable needle.
- Twisted stitches (TPT): Knit or purl through the back loop to twist the stitch.
- Cable cast-on/bind-off: Special methods to match cables.
Some tips for beginner cable knitters:
- Start with just 2-4 stitch wide cables like a basic braid. Wider cables involve handling more stitches on the needle.
- Work cables over stockinette stitch rather than reverse stockinette initially. The knit stitch background shows off the cables beautifully.
- Keep your tension even across cable crosses to avoid loose or tight stitches.
- Ensure your cable needle is narrow enough not to stretch out the stitches.
- Let the cables cross naturally – don’t stretch or pull them.
Now let’s look at some quick and easy cable knitting patterns ideal for beginners.
Quick and Easy Cable Patterns
Just like with lace, starting small with cable accessories builds your confidence. Here are beginner-friendly cable projects to try:
Hats are a knitting staple perfect for practicing cables, like:
- Braided Cable Hat – Two-stitch cable braids.
- Twisted Earflap Hat – Combines mock and true cables.
- Cozy Cable Beanie – Uses textured slip stitch pattern.
Headbands highlight cables nicely in a small circular project:
- Celtic Cable Headband – Classic interlocking cable design.
- Honeycomb Cable Headband – Textured honeycomb pattern.
- Braided Cable Headband – Reversible two-stitch cables.
Cowl patterns like these make great introductions to cabling in the round:
- Cozy Checkerboard Cowl – Alternating front/back cable crosses.
- Crossed Cables Infinity Cowl – Mock cables and two-stitch crosses.
- Twisted Trinity Cowl – Uses classic Trinity stitch cables.
In addition to the patterns above, these are easy cable stitches every beginner should know:
- Two-stitch braids – The simplest interlacing cable cross.
- Four-stitch ropes – Two sets of LC/RC crosses next to each other.
- Basketweave – Cables cross in a checkerboard pattern.
- Horseshoe cables – U-shaped crosses resembling horseshoes.
When you’re ready to progress beyond simple braids, look for these beginner-friendly cable patterns:
- Trinity, Harvest, Bird’s Eye and Honeycomb stitches – These have crossing stitches worked over a background of purls rather than knits. Adding purl texture takes your cables to the next level!
- Mock cables using twisted stitches – Less handling of stitches as you don’t need a cable needle.
- Cables that travel across several rows – Allows you to create longer cables.
- Combining simple cable crosses and twisted stitches together – Varying techniques keeps things interesting.
With a firm grasp on basic cables, you can start combining them with lace for stunning textures!
Combining Lace and Cables
Lace and cables may seem like very different techniques, but they complement each other beautifully in knitting patterns. The airy, open look of lace contrasts with the dense, textured dimension of cables to add visual interest and intricate detailing.
Some ways to incorporate both lace and cables include:
- Cabled panels or edgings on a lace shawl or scarf
- Lace inserts between bands of cable patterns
- Mixing individual cable and lace stitches throughout the pattern
- A lace background with isolated cable accents
- Shawls or sweaters mixing lace and Aran cable panels
Starter patterns successfully combining lace and cables include:
- Diamonds and Cables Scarf – Lace diamonds, two-stitch cables, and eyelets.
- Lace Cable Twist Cowl – Mixes lace diamonds and mock cables.
- Cable and Lace Pullover – Lace yoke and body with cable waistband.
Here are some tips for managing lace and cables together:
- Use stitch markers to separate pattern repeats.
- Take lifelines periodically in case you need to rip back.
- Read through the entire pattern first to know what techniques are coming up.
- Stick to your established needle size – don’t size up/down just for cables or lace sections.
- Work any techniques new to you, like nupps or crossed stitches, into a test swatch first.
- Focus on each step methodically; don’t let lace and cable maneuvers overwhelm you.
- Check your row/round counts frequently to ensure you haven’t miscounted.
Now that you have a wide variety of starter lace and cable techniques let’s go over some troubleshooting for common snags.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Here are some fixes for frequent lace and cable struggles:
Lace Knitting Solutions
- Use a crochet hook to pick up dropped stitches.
- Unravel and rework twisted stitches when caught early.
Inconsistent stitch count
- Verify repeats with stitch markers.
- Read your knitting – understand where each decrease matches an increase.
Errors in chart reading
- Highlight the current row being worked on.
- Double-check special instructions like double yarnovers.
Varied stitch sizes
- Maintain even tension, especially around increase/decrease areas.
- Block thoroughly when finished.
Cable Knitting Solutions
- Make sure stitches aren’t stretching on the cable needle.
- Work crosses loosely without pulling – let the stitches cross naturally.
Gaps between crosses
- Consider a shorter cable needle if gaps persist.
- Allow some space to even out with blocking.
- Check for even tension across the needle; relax hands if needed.
- Use a cable needle similar in size to knitting needles.
Chart reading errors
- Highlight cable chart symbols as you work them.
- Remember LC and RC symbols.
- Double-check special instructions.
Patience and persistence will help you overcome any stumbles as you build lace and cable knitting skills. Soon these techniques will become second nature!
Lace and cable knitting open up endless possibilities for creating stunning, detailed knitwear. Don’t let intricate patterns intimidate you. Start with simple stitches and accessible projects to build confidence. Use stitch markers religiously, check measurements frequently, and take time mastering each new skill. Support sites like this offer many patterns, tips and inspiration to expand your lace and cable knitting journey. What beautiful creations will you make next? Share your latest projects and favorite tricks below!